The modern customer wants businesses to understand their needs and deliver an unforgettable experience consistently across channels. But marketers rarely have the bandwidth to optimize their presence on every channel. As a result, brands must focus on the right channel strategies based on brand identity and audience habits.
The right channel strategy helps a business to market its offerings to existing and potential customers where they are. It gets them to buy and ensures they have a great experience that results in a positive perception of the brand. As customer touchpoints evolve, organizations are using multichannel marketing strategies to keep up. Read on to learn more about what channel strategy is and how it specifically benefits the IT industry.
See also: channel
In this definition...
What Is an IT Channel?
The IT channel is the overall environment and flow of sales that has developed across technology hardware, software, and service provider networks. An IT channel distributor is a company that acts as an intermediary between vendors and systems integrators (SIs) or value-added resellers (VARs) in software or hardware distribution.
What Is Channel Strategy?
Channel strategy is a vendor’s marketing strategy for moving a product or a service through the chain of commerce to the end user. Companies normally use distribution channels to reach their target audiences and deliver great experiences throughout the buyer’s journey. A channel marketing strategy considers the business environment, customer habits, and limitations such as cost. Businesses typically use one or both of the following channel marketing strategies:
Direct channel marketing
Direct channel marketing is a marketing approach that initiates a personal connection between the customer and the business. The brand uses one or more marketing channels to communicate with a targeted customer or a segment of customers.
Indirect channel marketing
Brands use indirect channel marketing to sell goods and services indirectly through independent middlemen to end users. The distribution of products is outsourced to different channel partners who are responsible for delivery.
Why Is Channel Strategy Important in IT?
- Helps businesses tap into new markets: By using the right marketing channel, a business can generate brand awareness and reach audiences in untapped markets.
- Simplifies measurements of progress: A channel marketing strategy helps businesses gauge the success of their marketing efforts, including how well they’re delivering messages and connecting with customers.
- Boosts in sales: Marketers that develop an effective sales channel connect with customers better and maximize touchpoints to increase sales and scale fast.
- Enhances the customer experience: An effective channel strategy helps the business to actively engage its existing and potential customers on their favorite platforms. It provides useful insights for delivering memorable customer experiences.
Best Practices for Developing Your Channel Strategy
Outline your business goals
Defining your business goals helps you determine the best marketing strategy for reaching your target audience. Set different goals for each channel based on the customer journey. Setting measurable goals makes it easier to track the success of channel strategies. Your goals may include generating brand awareness, increasing profit margins, and acquiring lifelong customers.
Define your target audience
Identify the people who will benefit most from your products or services then research their common interests and buying habits. Researching your potential customers and the channels they use ensures you deliver accurate messages, provide a better customer experience, and expand your market reach. Decide which channels to invest in and how to position your business to appeal to your target audience.
Research the competition
Researching competitors and listening to industry conversations provides insight into how people perceive your niche and brand. Know what’s happening in the industry and use the information to design effective marketing campaigns. Learn from competitors’ successes and mistakes. You can also use insights from competitor research to differentiate your brand’s voice and value proposition.
Consider the customer experience
Your offerings influence how customers perceive and engage with your business. Acquire data on customer habits, preferences, and limitations and use it to deliver exceptional experiences. Update products regularly to satisfy customer needs and offer more value. Also, encourage customers to become brand ambassadors and share their experiences with others on social media.
Use marketing channels to create value for customers
The marketing channel you use will depend on whether the buying process is relatively straightforward or whether consumers need more information before making a purchase.
Research how customers buy products to gain insight into what channels they use. An effective marketing channel matches end-user requirements and takes into account how major touchpoints in marketing strategy fit into the brand experience. Limit your distribution channels to create a more potent channel strategy and build the right foundation to scale up.
Set measurable goals with key performance indicators (KPIs) to track marketing strategy progress and measure the success of individual distribution channels. By gauging progress, marketers can identify which channels perform best and know the direct total leads and sales generated by all channels. Marketing channel progress analytics show the ROI on marketing efforts, so brands can optimize strategies and make adjustments to increase ROI and operational efficiency.
Read next: Top Training Resources for Channel Marketers